alarm

noun
\ ə-ˈlärm How to pronounce alarm (audio) \
variants: or less commonly alarum \ ə-​ˈlär-​əm also  -​ˈler-​ How to pronounce alarum (audio) ; -​ˈla-​rəm \

Definition of alarm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 usually alarum, archaic : a call to arms … the angry trumpet sounds alarum— William Shakespeare
2 : a signal (such as a loud noise or flashing light) that warns or alerts also : a device that signals set the alarm to wake me at seven
3 : sudden sharp apprehension and fear resulting from the perception of imminent danger
4 : a warning notice

alarm

verb
variants: or less commonly alarum
alarmed also alarumed; alarming also alaruming; alarms also alarums

Definition of alarm (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to strike with fear
3 : to give warning to
4 : to equip with an alarm

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Choose the Right Synonym for alarm

Noun

fear, dread, fright, alarm, panic, terror, trepidation mean painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger. fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually loss of courage. fear of the unknown dread usually adds the idea of intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety. faced the meeting with dread fright implies the shock of sudden, startling fear. fright at being awakened suddenly alarm suggests a sudden and intense awareness of immediate danger. view the situation with alarm panic implies unreasoning and overmastering fear causing hysterical activity. the news caused widespread panic terror implies the most extreme degree of fear. immobilized with terror trepidation adds to dread the implications of timidity, trembling, and hesitation. raised the subject with trepidation

Did You Know?

Today we usually think of an alarm as a loud noise that awakens us or warns us of danger. Its first use, however, was in Italy as a call to arms to soldiers. The Italian phrase all’arme! means literally “to arms” or “to your weapons.” The call was borrowed into other languages and came to be shortened to alarme in early French and Middle English. The word also came to be used as the name for the cry, then for any warning, and then to any device used to sound a warning, such as a bell or a gun. Since an alarm can cause fright or worry, such feelings also came to be known as alarm. By the 17th century, the word was used as a verb, meaning “to warn of danger” and then “to frighten.”

Examples of alarm in a Sentence

Noun

The alarm went off when he opened the door. The whole town heard the alarm. She set the alarm for six o'clock. The alarm went off at six o'clock. The rumors caused widespread alarm and concern. His parents have expressed alarm about his safety. The new developments are being viewed with alarm. She looked around in alarm when she heard the noise. The dog's barking gave the alarm and the intruders were caught. A passerby saw the intruders and raised the alarm.

Verb

I didn't mean to alarm you. The rapid spread of the disease has alarmed many people.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Those proposals were driven in part by rising alarm over curtailment, and by the revelation that California sometimes pays other states to take its excess solar power. Sammy Roth, latimes.com, "California has too much solar power. That might be good for ratepayers," 5 June 2019 Throughout the trial, prosecutors have asked witnesses to detail the lack of safety measures inside the warehouse — none have recalled a sprinkler system, fire alarm or exit signs. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Ghost Ship trial: Witness recalls late friend’s face the moment flames spread," 4 June 2019 Some of its features include heart rate monitoring, texting, calling, calendar notifications, silent alarms, and finally a super long battery life of 7+ days. Isabelle Kagan, USA TODAY, "The 7 best deals and sales you can get this Tuesday," 4 June 2019 The alarm rang a second time shortly thereafter, at 6:43 p.m., at which point Notre Dame security spotted the fire in the wooden framework of the attic. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "What Caused the Massive Fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral?," 16 Apr. 2019 January 2016 West Air Sweden Flight 294, a Canadair CRJ-200 cargo jet, was en route to Tromso, Norway, when an alarm klaxon went off and the autopilot disengaged. Jeff Wise, Popular Mechanics, "4 Times Before the Boeing 737 Max 8 That Plane Automation Software Went Haywire," 18 Mar. 2019 HBO Sound the alarms: After an *extremely* long wait and much anticipation, HBO has confirmed Big Little Lies' second season is officially going ahead. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "HBO Drops New 'Big Little Lies' Photos From Season 2," 8 Feb. 2019 Security researchers have repeatedly sounded the alarm in recent years that airline IT is struggling to cope with the demands of modernity. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "A Hacker Exposed the Ancient Flaw That Makes Airlines So Hackable," 17 Jan. 2019 Seb Daly/Web Summit via Getty Images The whistleblower who sounded the alarm about Facebook’s data vulnerabilities in the 2016 election cycle isn’t done yelling — even on Election Day 2018. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "On Election Day, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower is blasting Facebook for still not doing enough," 6 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Democrats were similarly alarmed by the Senate GOP’s refusal to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. NBC News, "Inside Pete Buttigieg's plan to overhaul the Supreme Court," 3 June 2019 The organization published a lengthy blogpost on Wednesday detailing how the product works and why you should be alarmed. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Amazon Continues to Patent Facial Recognition Technologies—And Is Facing Pressure From All Sides," 13 Dec. 2018 In recent years, down-to-the wire debt-limit negotiations have raised concerns that the U.S. could default on its debt, alarming investors. Kristina Peterson, WSJ, "New White House, Congressional Spending Fights on the Horizon," 16 Feb. 2019 But what appears to be happening instead is that nonsmoking youth are taking up vaping at alarming rates. Julia Belluz, Vox, "$1.3 million: the average bonus Juul employees get after a deal with a cigarette maker," 20 Dec. 2018 Measles outbreaks in this state and elsewhere have alarmed parents, doctors and public officials about a highly contagious disease that had been deemed eliminated in 2000. Nina Shapiro, The Seattle Times, "Fear, resentment — and more demand for vaccines as one Washington county grapples with measles outbreak," 1 Apr. 2019 The challenge has allegedly been linked to several teen suicides, which has alarmed parents. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "Is The Momo Challenge Finally Over?!," 6 Mar. 2019 The findings alarmed some privacy experts who reviewed the Journal’s testing. Sam Schechner, WSJ, "You Give Apps Sensitive Personal Information. Then They Tell Facebook.," 22 Feb. 2019 The fact that international inspections do not appear to have detected the NDMA contamination alarms Anders Fuglsang, a former European medicines regulator who runs a pharmaceutical consultancy in Denmark. Fox News, "Toxin at heart of drug recall shows holes in medical safety net," 22 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alarm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of alarm

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alarm

Noun

Middle English alarme, alarom, from Middle French alarme, from Old Italian all'arme, literally, to the arms

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Learn More about alarm

Dictionary Entries near alarm

Alaria

Alaric

Alaric II

alarm

alarmable

alarm bell

alarm bird

Statistics for alarm

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alarm

The first known use of alarm was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for alarm

alarm

noun

English Language Learners Definition of alarm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a device that makes a loud sound as a warning or signal
: a feeling of fear caused by a sudden sense of danger
: a warning of danger

alarm

verb

English Language Learners Definition of alarm (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (someone) to feel a sense of danger : to worry or frighten (someone)

alarm

noun
\ ə-ˈlärm How to pronounce alarm (audio) \

Kids Definition of alarm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a warning of danger The dog's barking gave the alarm.
2 : a device (as a bell) that warns or signals people a car alarm
3 : alarm clock Set the alarm for six o'clock.
4 : the feeling of fear caused by a sudden sense of danger She was filled with alarm on hearing the crash downstairs.

alarm

verb
alarmed; alarming

Kids Definition of alarm (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause to feel a sense of danger : worry or frighten Their strange behavior alarmed us.

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More from Merriam-Webster on alarm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with alarm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alarm

Spanish Central: Translation of alarm

Nglish: Translation of alarm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alarm for Arabic Speakers

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